Two thousand years of Christianity

We have the advantage over the Asian culture in that we have the Christ-mystery. But what do the Asian people say? I will now tell you something that I did not make up myself, but something that Asians with insight say. They say: ‘wonderful, you fellows have the Christ-mystery over on us; that is something we do not have, therefore you view yourselves to be at a higher cultural level. But you say for example: “by your fruits, you will be recognized.” Your religion advocates that people must love each other, but if we look at the way you live, then we do not see that you love one another. You send missionaries to Asia, who tell us all kinds of great things; but when we come to Europe, if all this is true, we actually see people are not living in the way we were told people should be living! ‘ – That is what the Asian people say.

Think about it, are they so significantly wrong? At a religious conference, where representatives of all faiths spoke, this exact topic was discussed, and what I just said is what the Asian representatives said. They said, ‘you send us missionaries, that is certainly all very beautiful. But you’ve already had Christianity for two thousand years; we cannot see that your moral development is so vastly superior to ours as you assume it to be!’

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 169 – Weltwesen und Ichheit – Berlin, July 18, 1916 (page 159)

Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger

Previously posted on June 6, 2017

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Good thoughts and feelings give wings to the dead

It is very important to send our thoughts and feelings to a loved one who has died and is now in the spiritual worlds. Our thoughts must not contain yearnings to have the departed back with us, as this complicates his life in the spheres in which he must now enter. What we need to send to the spiritual worlds is not the suffering we endure but the love we bear towards the departed. […] Spiritual research has shown that feelings of love give wings that bear the dead up, whereas longings like: “Oh how I wish you were still with us” create obstacles in his path. This is a general indication of how to direct our feelings in such events.

Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 264 – From a letter to Paula Stryczek – Berlin, 31 December 1905 (page 101)

Anonymous translator

Previously posted on April 27, 2017

Love & Sexuality

In the age of materialism it is exceedingly difficult to maintain in true and right perspective, this concept of compassion or love. Many of you will realise that in our materialistic times this concept is distorted, in that materialism associates the concept of “love” so closely with that of “sexuality” — with which, fundamentally, it has nothing whatever to do. That is a point where the culture of our day abandons both intelligence and sound, healthy reason. Through its materialism, evolution in our time is veering not only towards the unintelligent and illogical but even towards the scandalous, when “love” is dragged into such close association with what is covered by the term “sexuality.”

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 133 – Earthly and Cosmic Man: Lecture VI – Berlin, May 14, 1912

Translated by Dorothy S. Osmond

Our failure to develop love and compassion

The egoism we develop in the physical world, without being willing to acquire self-knowledge, shows up when it is carried into spiritual worlds. Nothing is so disturbing, nothing can be so bitter and disheartening as to experience the result of our failure to develop love and compassion in the physical world. Ascending into the spiritual world, we are filled with anguish by the selfishness and lack of love we have achieved in the physical-sense world. When we cross the threshold, everything is revealed, not only the obvious but also the hidden egoism that rages in the depths of men’s souls.

Someone who with outward egoism frankly insists that he wants this or that for himself is perhaps much less egoistic than those who indulge in the dream that they are selfless, or those who assume a certain egoistic self-effacement out of theosophical abstractions in their upper consciousness. This is especially the case when the latter declaim their selflessness in all sorts of repetitions of the words “love” and “tolerance.” What a person carries up into higher worlds in the form of an unloving lack of compassion is transformed into hideous, often terrifying figures he meets on entering the spiritual worlds, figures that are extremely disturbing for the soul.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 147 – Secrets of the Threshold – Lecture VIII – Munich, 31 August 1913

Translated by Ruth Pusch

Previously posted on May 28, 2016

Love/Karma/Physical body

It is possible to observe, in all details, how the tendencies that were present in one life, work, in the next, on the physical body. A person who is disposed to love everything around him, who is loving to all creatures, who pours out love, will have in the next incarnation a physical body that remains young and fresh until late in life. Love for all beings, the cultivation of sympathy, gives rise to a physical body that preserves its youthful vigour. A man who is full of antipathy against other human beings, who criticises and grumbles at everything, trying to keep aloof from it all, produces, as the result of these tendencies, a physical body that ages and becomes wrinkled prematurely. Thus are the tendencies and passions of one life carried over to the physical, bodily life of subsequent incarnations.

Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 99 – Theosophy of the Rosicrucian – VI: The Law of Destiny – Berlin, 30th May 1907

Translated by M. Cotterell & D. S. Osmond

Previously posted on March 31, 2016